Family engagement and developing a partnership with parents is the keystone for a successful classroom. A student’s family is the most influential partner, and fostering meaningful relationships is paramount to student achievement. Authentic connections between schools and families require both parties to put forth their best efforts for success. The work is worth the reward.
Research studies support the need to cultivate meaningful relationships between educators and families. According to an article from the National PTA (2000), the best predictor of student success is the extent to which families encourage learning at home and involve themselves in their child’s education. The effort must be reciprocal, but teachers must initiate the invitation to partner with parents during their child’s educational journey. Listed below are strategies and resources to help you promote parent involvement in your classroom.
Keep families informed about classroom happenings through blogs, learning management systems, and messaging services like Remind (reviewed here). It’s essential to establish two-way communication with families and make it easy for parents and guardians to ask questions and communicate with their child’s teachers. Create a Google Form (reviewed here) and have parents respond to a question periodically. For example, “I wish my student’s teacher knew…” Use the responses in the form to connect with your students’ families. Setting up a consistent routine of calling or emailing parents about their child’s progress in the class keeps the communication open and it makes you available to connect with the family.
Offering parents the opportunity to volunteer helps them use their skills to support their child’s education. Parents can help out with activities in the classroom, organize activities for the school, support student safety patrols, or organize school fundraisers.
Family nights provide opportunities for teachers, students, and their families to connect. They also offer another opportunity to get parents involved. Hosting a literacy or math night helps families learn about strategies and resources to help them support their children. Explore TeachersFirst’s collection of reading resources and math resources for all ages. “Tech It Out” Night is an opportunity for students to share how they use technology throughout the day with their families. Parents can plan STEM challenges for their families to complete. Students can create advertisements for these events using a tool like Microsoft Sway (reviewed here).
Develop community service projects that foster collaboration between parents, teachers, administrators, and the community. Offer parents and community members the opportunity to speak with students about future career opportunities.
Teachers and schools must take an active role in providing activities for parent involvement—making a commitment to doing so has students’ best interests at heart. How are you getting parents involved at your school? We’d love to hear your strategies in the comments below!
PTA, N. (2000). Building Successful Partnerships: A Guide for Developing Parent and Family Involvement Programs. (pp. 11-12). Bloomington, Indiana: National PTA, National Education Service.